I missed you. Did you miss me? It's been a long time since we've hung out properly hasn't it. This time last year we were hanging out weekly and we were eating chana masala and spicy tlayudas. I'm going to make it up to you, do you like rhubarb? I flipping love it.
Look at it! Ignore that I made this entire tart and now there's only half left. And I live alone so. There's that. I know rhubarb goes so well in pies and crumbles but with all the buds blooming and the birds squeaking, I'm not in the mood for heavy winter food, I want light flaky pastry, tender chunks of poached rhubarb and sweet toasted almonds. And ice-cream obvs.
Once you've poached the rhubarb, you end up with this incredible pink syrup too. Amazing as an ice-cream sauce, I'm dreaming of gin-based rhubarb cocktails now too. Hey, have you ever seen the film Stranger than fiction? I hung a mirror in my kitchen solely because of this scene.
Aw. Ok so this tart, you know how sometimes when you cook for people and they say 'This must have taken you such a long time to make' and you're all 'oh no way, it was really simple', but really, you've been slaving away in the kitchen ALL DAY? Well this is the opposite, people will be all 'whoa', but you'll be all 'oh it was nothing!'. For real! You could even skip the making the pastry part and buy pre-made sweet shortcrust pastry, I swear I wouldn't ever tell and you'd have more time to arrange your place to look like you always keep it that tidy.
To make this special tart you'll need:
either, a pre-made pastry shell, pre-made shortcrust pastry, or to make pastry yourself, I like this recipe at the moment
About 6-8 decent sized sticks of rhubarb (like the thickness of almost a broom handle, not like a pencil)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup-ish of flaked almonds
That is IT. For real!
Once the pastry is baked you don't need anything else to go into the oven, so make it/roll it out and put it in your dish and bake it until it's golden brown. You might need to bake it blind for 10 minutes or so, then finish it off to colour it.
Once your pastry is ready, put it aside and put the sugar into a pan with 1 1/2 cups of water over a medium high heat. While that's heating, chop your rhubarb into thumb sized chunks.
Add them to the sugar water when it's started bubbling.
Keep an eye on it! It will quickly go from firm and stringy to soft and tender! When it starts to flake apart when you nudge it, start scooping it out with a slotted spoon and put it into a sieve, over a bowl.
Quite a lot of fluid will come out, but look how tender those pieces are. They completely melt in your mouth.
Pour the extra back into the pan and keep the heat quite high so that the remaining fluid reduces by about two thirds. It'll make the sweetest little sauce.
While your rhubarb is cooling, spread the ground almonds out onto the base with your fingers, they do a good job of absorbing any residual liquid from the rhubarb so that the pastry doesn't get too soggy.
Use a spoon and carefully place the rhubarb all over the pastry base. (Keep an eye on your sauce!)
So yummy! Your sauce should have thickened up a bit by now and be pretty low down in the pan. Pour it into a container to cool down. Check out the amazing colour!
Now you don't even have to toast the almonds, you could just throw them straight on, but I like the flavour, so if you do too, just stick some foil on a baking sheet, throw the almonds on and sprinkle with a little sugar. Put them into the oven for a couple of minutes on a medium high heat. I'm serious, check them once a minute, they burn so easily! Then take them out, let them cool a little, then scatter over the rhubarb.
Seriously the easiest and prettiest tart ever.
I missed you all, I will try harder.
Japan, you, your people and animals are very much in my thoughts and heart.